How to Do Incline Hammer Curls for Maximum Gains

If you enjoy this article, please share it! Sharing helps PSI and helps your friends too!

Learning how to do incline hammer curls can give you an edge in the gym, and achieve maximum gains. Incline hammer curls target muscles differently than regular standing hammer curls and provide a focused pump, allowing you to better work on specific muscles. Their effectiveness comes from the angle at which you do them.

But what does that really mean? What are the benefits of incline hammer curls for those looking to build up their arms? What muscles do incline hammer curls work, and what is the difference between incline hammer curls and regular standing hammer curls?

Below, we’ll discuss all of this in more detail and provide instructions on how to properly do incline hammer curls so that you can maximize your workout and get the best results.

Introduction to Incline Hammer Curls

Incline Hammer Curls are a great exercise to incorporate into your routine if you’re looking to gain more muscle and strength. This isolation exercise targets both your biceps and forearms, giving you maximum gains with minimal joint stress. Performing the exercise on an incline bench set to a 45-degree angle increases the difficulty compared to regular (standing) Hammer Curls, as it shifts more of the weight onto your arms.

When doing Incline Hammer Curls, make sure to use a neutral grip with your palms facing each other throughout the movement for maximum results. Your elbows should be close to your body for the entire range of motion and your back should remain straight at all times. Keep a slow and controlled rhythm during the exercise so that you work the optimal number of muscles without risking injury.

What Muscles Do Incline Hammer Curls Work?

Incline hammer curls primarily target the following muscles:

Biceps Brachii: Elevating the hand puts more focus on the long head of the biceps, responsible for its iconic “peak.” This variation helps develop both long and short heads of the biceps.

Brachialis: Hammer curls target the brachialis muscle, located beneath the biceps brachii. Building up this muscle helps to develop overall arm size and strength.

Brachioradialis: Situated in the forearm, this muscle helps with elbow flexion. Hammer curls engage this muscle due to the neutral grip (palms facing each other) used during the exercise.

Forearm Muscles: Incline hammer curls utilize the neutral grip and curling motion of the forearm muscles, such as the flexor carpi radialis and flexor digitorum superficialis.

Incline hammer curls not only target the muscles mentioned above, but other muscles like the deltoids and trapezius also get worked in during this exercise for stabilization purposes.

Check out this video from Athlean X where he dives into the exercise:

Do Incline Hammer Curls Work Chest?

Incline hammer curls do not primarily target chest muscles. As previously mentioned, this exercise primarily works the biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis and forearm muscles. However, certain stabilizing muscles such as anterior deltoids (front part of shoulder) and trapezius may contract during the exercise to ensure correct form and posture are maintained.

If you want to tone up your chest muscles, incorporate exercises specifically designed to target these areas into your workout regimen. Examples of such exercises include bench presses (flat, incline or decline), push-ups, dumbbell flys and cable crossovers. Not only will these strengthen and condition the pectorals but they’ll also give you a well-rounded workout that helps build stamina for other parts of the body as well.

Benefits of Incline Hammer Curls

Incline hammer curls are an excellent exercise for building denser, stronger arms. There are several advantages of including incline hammer curls in your upper arm workout regimen.

Targeting Long Head of Biceps Brachii

The incline hammer curl targets the long head of your biceps brachii, located along the outside of your arm. This long head gives your arms a more defined and sharp appearance but may contribute to bulkiness when combined with other strength training exercises.

Engagement of Brachialis and Brachioradialis Muscles

Another benefit of incline hammer curls is that they engage both the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles, located beneath the biceps brachii. By engaging these muscles, you’ll achieve a more defined arm shape as well as increased arm strength.

Increased Upper Arm Strength & Stability

Finally, performing incline hammer curls regularly will strengthen and stabilize your upper arms. Stronger arms enable you to better perform other exercises such as pull-ups or chin-ups, plus everyday activities like lifting heavy objects or carrying a child.

How to do Incline Hammer Curls

Ready to get started on your incline hammer curls? Follow these steps for proper form and maximum gains!

  1. Adjust a flat bench to an incline of 45–60 degrees, facing away from a cable machine.
  2. Grasp the cable attachment with both hands, then step back so that the arms are extended in front of you and your torso is angled forward slightly.
  3. Without moving your upper arms, rotate your shoulders outward and curl the bar toward your chest. Imagine pulling the elbow “up and out” to engage the lats.
  4. Lower slowly, maintaining the tension with control, until your arms are extended out in front of you again.
  5. Repeat for desired reps (typically 8-12).

To help you keep good form while doing this exercise, keep these tips in mind:

  • Tuck your chin into your neck while doing inclines — this is a great way to keep that egg safe!
  • Do slow reps focusing on tension and control — this will help to build strength instead of size only.
  • Contract the target muscle at the peak of the movement — this will help you get maximum results from each rep!

Here’s a good instructional video I found on youtube:

Incline Hammer Curls VS Hammer Curls

The main difference between incline hammer curls and regular hammer curls is that incline hammer curls better target the long head of the biceps brachii and the brachialis muscle. Doing your hammer curls on an incline helps better isolate the biceps from surrounding muscles, giving them a more intense workout.

Plus, incline hammer curls are generally harder than regular hammer curls. The challenge that comes with using an incline–as opposed to doing a standard standing curl–helps build up your biceps muscles quicker and more efficiently.

Although both exercises emphasize the brachialis and brachioradialis, conventional hammer curls cannot hit these muscles in the same way as incline hammer curls can. This is mainly due to the angle of pull–because you’re performing a curl from an inclined position, you’re able to increase both strength and endurance in your arms more effectively.

If you would like to see another alternative to conventional hammer curls, check out this article on cable hammer curls.

What reddit Users Say About Incline Hammer Curls

When researching an exercise, I often turn to reddit to see what others experiences have been like. After some quick research I found that reddit users have shared various opinions and experiences regarding incline hammer curls.

Some users suggest that incline dumbbell curls can target the long head of the biceps more effectively than regular curls [1]. Others mention that incline curls can help develop the bicep peaks, while hammer curls work the brachialis muscle [2]. Another user recommended combining the incline curl with a twist in the palms during the concentric movement for a nice pump [3].

Overall, according to redditors, it seems that incline hammer curls can be a useful variation in a workout routine, targeting different muscles in the arm and potentially enhancing bicep development.



Incline hammer curls are an effective exercise for building arm strength and size. Utilizing an incline bench, you position the bicep muscles in a way that promotes full range of motion and increased stretching, as well as targeting specific forearm muscles more directly. Incline hammer curls can be performed with either dumbbells, barbells or resistance bands; however, the exercise is most commonly done with dumbbells. To achieve proper form, keep weight in your heels during each rep, keep your back flat and maintain a steady pace throughout the exercise. This exercise can be included as part of a superset or as an individual exercise for added variety in your routine; giving it plenty of potential uses! So give incline hammer curls a try and watch those gains pile up!

Thanks for reading! Time to go Pump Some Iron!

If you enjoy this article, please share it! Sharing helps PSI and helps your friends too!


Hey, I'm Brian, the creator of I've been weightlifting / bodybuilding for 20 years and now I'm ready to share some knowledge. Check out my About Me page to hear my story.

More On Hammer Curls: